"Cataclysm" redirects here. For the in-universe event that is the subject of the expansion, see Cataclysm (event). For the warlock talent, see Cataclysm (warlock talent).
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Art from the official Cataclysm site
(with logo edited on)
UtvecklareBlizzard Entertainment
UtgivareBlizzard Entertainment
Leveling overlay

A new overlay appears whenever you gain a level.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (or Cata for short) is the upcoming third expansion for World of Warcraft and was officially announced on August 21, 2009 at BlizzCon 2009. The majority of the expansion content takes place in drastically reforged Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms.

It is to include the playable races of the worgen for the Alliance and the goblins for the Horde. Flying mounts will finally be usable in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. Deathwing will make his return into Azeroth from Deepholm, causing a new Sundering.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will be released in 2010.[1]

The Friends & Family phase of the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm alpha began on May 3rd, 2010.[2] Closed beta began June 30th, 2010.[3]


From the official site:

An ancient evil lies dormant within Deepholm, the domain of earth in the Elemental Plane.

Hidden away in a secluded sanctuary, the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing has waited, recovering from the wounds of his last battle against Azeroth and biding his time until he can reforge the world in molten fire.

Soon, Deathwing the Destroyer will return to Azeroth, and his eruption from Deepholm will sunder the world, leaving a festering wound across the continents. As the Horde and Alliance race to the epicenter of the cataclysm, the kingdoms of Azeroth will witness seismic shifts in power, the kindling of a war of the elements, and the emergence of unlikely heroes who will rise up to protect their scarred and broken world from utter devastation.


  • Level cap increased to 85.
  • Zones are drastically affected by the Cataclysm in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. The Barrens has been split into two, and is full of canyons of lava. Wetlands is destroyed, Ashenvale hit as well. The Maelstrom churns. The changes will be made available to all players regardless of expansion purchase.
  • New race for the Alliance: Worgen,
  • New race for the Horde: Goblins,
  • New race/class combinations. See the chart below. (These will be available only to those who have purchased the expansion[4]).
  • New monsters, quests, and zones.
  • New dungeons, raids and battlegrounds.
  • Guild advancement system, which includes guild leveling, achievements, and rewards.
  • Ability to fly anywhere due to the Azeroth revamp. The blood elf and draenei starting zones will still be instanced.
  • New water rendering engine.[5][6][7]
  • Cataclysm will have support for new DirectX 11 features.
  • Cataclysm will have hardware cursor in OpenGL mode.

Stat changes

  • Attack power is being removed from gear. Death knights, paladins and warriors will still gain 2 attack power per point of strength, and all druids, hunters, shamans and rogues will get 2 attack power per point of agility and no attack power from strength, with the exception of druids in bear form / dire bear form, who may get attack power from strength in order to allow them to share tanking cloaks, necklaces and rings with death knights, paladins and warriors.[8]
  • Spell power is being removed from gear, with the exception of caster weapons. Characters will gain spell power from intellect much like how they currently gain attack power from agility and strength.
  • MP5 and spirit: MP5 is being removed, all healing specs will rely on spirit for mana regeneration, with the rate affected by the Meditation passive talent tree bonus. The 5 second rule may be removed, with "in combat" and "out of combat" mana regeneration based on whether characters are in or out of combat. Spell DPS classes will no longer rely on spirit for mana regeneration, and spirit will no longer be on cloth spell DPS gear. Balance druids and elemental shamans will get talents to gain hit rating from spirit to allow them to share gear with healers and leather and mail caster gear will no longer have hit rating.[9] Shadow Priests will also have hit conversion on one of their talents in order to make it easier for them to gear up through more options.[10]
  • Armor penetration is being removed from gear[11]. However, some physical damage specs may still be able to gain armor penetration through talents and / or mastery bonuses.
  • Haste for melee and physical ranged DPS classes will affect the rate at which energy, rage, focus and runes are gained. Enhancement shamans and retribution paladins will gain talents which allow them to gain similar benefits from haste. It will continue to provide weapon speed increases for these classes[12]. Haste for casters is unchanged.
  • Block value is being removed from the game, blocking will provide 30% damage reduction, which can be increased through talent trees and mastery bonuses.
  • Defense is being removed from the game, including both defense rating and the defense skill. All tanking specs will get anti-critical hit talents similar to Survival of the Fittest.[13]
  • Weapon skills are being removed. A character has the proficiencies for all the weapons his/her class can use from the start, and doesn't need to improve them.
  • Resilience affects only damage and crit damage done by players.
  • Mastery rating is being added. The mastery bonuses will be trainable passive bonuses somewhere around level 75. Depending on the primary talent tree, characters will have a different Mastery available on the trainer with a base potency and 0 Mastery Rating.[14]


  • Profession level cap raised to 525 and will be named Illustrious <Profession>.
  • Reforging will allow, through specific NPCs, to convert a percentage of one item's secondary stat into another secondary stat (e.g. Hit -> Crit).
  • New secondary profession: Archaeology.
  • Inscription will have three glyph tiers: Prime, Major and Minor glyphs (with primes being the old majors, and the new majors being a brand new tier of glyphs).[15]
  • Tailoring, Leatherworking and Blacksmithing will have their specializations removed and related recipes will be baseline.


  • Extensive revisions to the talent system: talent trees are cut down to 31-point talents (7 tiers each tree). You will gain a talent point about every two levels up to 80, instead of every level, and then 1 every level after 80 for a total of 41 talent points at level 85 (vs. 71 points at level 80 in WotLK)[16]
  • Selecting a primary talent tree, is required at level 10 and must be done before talent points can be spent. This will provide passive bonuses and a unique active ability. You will be unable to spend talent points in a secondary tree until you have invested 31 points in your primary tree (at roughly level 70).[17]
  • Many passive talents with generic bonuses, such as increased critical strike chance, damage reduction or increased healing, and specifically those that provide bonuses to buffs and perhaps debuffs, are being removed. [18]

PvE and PvP

  • 25-man raid leaders will have the possibility to split down the raid into a maximum of three 10-man raids. This is to allow players to continue a raid even if someone has left the group. 10-mans cannot, however, be converted into a 25-man raid.
  • 10- and 25-man raids will share the same ID in Cataclysm. However, players will still be able to join any raid as long as they don't kill the same boss twice in the same lockout. This means players will be able to continue a raid with a different group at the condition the new group is the same point or beyond the invited player.
  • 10- and 25-man raids in Cataclysm will give the same Loot, the 25-mans will give more Loot per character.
  • There will only be four different "badges" in Cataclysm, now all called Points: two PvE (Hero and Valor Points) and two PvP (Honor and Conquest Points). Arena Points are now called Conquest Points.
    • PvE Hero Points and PvP Honor Points will only have a cap on the total number of points you can accumulate.
    • PvE Valor Points and PvP Conquest Points will have a cap on the total number of points, as well as a cap on the maximum amount of points you can earn in a week.
  • Cataclysm will include a new "auto-quest" mechanic, allowing players to pick up the next quest in a chain without having to go back to the original quest giver.

Race and class changes

Mount Kajaro

Mount Kajaro erupted on Kezan due to the Cataclysm

Cataclysm class chart [19]
IconSmall Deathknight IconSmall Druid IconSmall Hunter IconSmall Mage IconSmall Paladin IconSmall Priest IconSmall Rogue IconSmall Shaman IconSmall Warlock IconSmall Warrior
Alliance 15 IconSmall Draenei MaleIconSmall Draenei Female Draenei Yes YesYesYesYes Yes Yes
Alliance 15 Yes YesNewYesYesYesNewNew[20]Yes
Alliance 15 IconSmall Gnome MaleIconSmall Gnome Female Gnome Yes Yes NewYes YesYes
Alliance 15 Yes NewYesYesYesYes YesYes
Alliance 15 YesYesYesNew YesYes Yes
Alliance 15 IconSmall Worgen MaleIconSmall Worgen Female Worgen NewNewNewNew NewNew NewNew
Horde 15 Yes YesYesYesYesYes YesNew
Horde 15 IconSmall Undead MaleIconSmall Undead Female Forsaken Yes NewYes YesYes YesYes
Horde 15 IconSmall Goblin MaleIconSmall Goblin Female Goblin New NewNew NewNewNewNewNew
Horde 15 IconSmall Orc MaleIconSmall Orc Female Orc Yes YesNew YesYesYesYes
Horde 15 IconSmall Tauren MaleIconSmall Tauren Female Tauren YesYesYes NewNew Yes Yes
Horde 15 IconSmall Troll MaleIconSmall Troll Female Troll YesNewYesYes YesYesYesNew[20]Yes
Cataclysm class previews -- in order of posting
  1. IconSmall Shaman Shaman
  2. IconSmall Warlock Warlock
  3. IconSmall Priest Priest
  4. IconSmall Warrior Warrior
  5. IconSmall Deathknight Death knight
  6. IconSmall Rogue Rogue
  7. IconSmall Hunter Hunter
  8. IconSmall Druid Druid
  9. IconSmall Mage Mage
  10. IconSmall Paladin Paladin

Cancelled features

  • Revamped character progression via the Paths of the Titans, and Ancient glyphs was planned and announced, but later cancelled.[21]
  • Guild talents and guild currency have been removed. Instead, guild advancement bonuses are automatically unlocked based on guild level.[22]

Prominent figures

Among the many figures confirmed to have major roles in the story of Cataclysm are:

Factions and organizations

Numerous new factions are introduced in the expansion.

Gilneas (Worgen)
The people of Gilneas are a nation of survivors. Having walled themselves off from the rest of humanity, they must now face new threats from within.
Bilgewater Cartel (Goblins)
Run by the ruthless Trade Prince Gallywix, the Bilgewater Cartel is the most powerful trading company on the Isle of Kezan. From their headquarters at Bilgewater Port, the cartel dominates trade all over the South Seas.
Guardians of Hyjal
The Guardians of Hyjal is a group tasked with defense of Mount Hyjal, besieged by Firelord Ragnaros' armies. Guardians are made up mainly of druids, much like Cenarion Circle.[23]
The cat-people of Ramkahen are the distant but direct descendants of the Tol'vir, guardians of Uldum. Though they've lost their stone bodies, protecting the secrets of the Titans is still a part of their rigid tradition.

Some other factions may have their own reputations as evidenced by achievements:[24]

New zones


Map of the reshaped Azeroth.


Map of the new zones in Cataclysm. Not to scale

Cataclysm Map

Maps of the new zones in Cataclysm (enlarged).


Eastern Kingdoms

The Great Sea

Elemental Plane

Zones affected by the Cataclysm

For detailed zone changes in the current beta patch, see Patch 4.0.0 (undocumented changes).

These changes are not phased. They will be seen by everyone, from level 1 to 85, whether or not they buy the expansion.[25]


Southern Kalimdor Level Flow

The new level flow for the Kalimdor zones

  • Ashenvale: Heavier deforestation around the Warsong Lumber Camp causes the orcs to encroach on Silverwind Refuge. Zoram'gar Outpost is reinforced with black iron, similar to the Horde outposts in Northrend. Astranaar becomes the victim of air assaults launched by the Horde.
  • Azshara: Azshara has been claimed by the goblins (likely as their second zone after the Lost Isles), where they have established a quarry to cut stone for the construction of their towns. The zone is also now directly linked with Orgrimmar.
  • The Barrens: The Barrens is split in two by great fissures in the land, spouting fiery rivers of lava. The Northern Barrens is a level 10-20 zone, while the Southern Barrens is intended for higher level players. Portions of the Barrens have grown lush thanks to the work of the druid Naralex. The passage into Mulgore has been reinforced by the tauren, with high walls and a gate. This is because the Alliance will be moving into the southern Barrens, constructing several towers and burning down Camp Taurajo. [26]
  • Darkshore: Auberdine is destroyed, and the very land torn asunder. The Alliance relocates to a new town in the northern end of the zone called Lor'danel. Shatterspear Village, previously a closed zone, becomes an accessible subzone.
  • Darnassus: The "worgen district", previously believed to be in Stormwind, will in fact be in a section of Darnassus. The architecture is described as "buildings that look like they’re built out of trees but they’re Worgen-style, so they’re dark and spooky – they fit the Gilneas style".[27]
  • Desolace: Once a barren wasteland, the Cataclysm has caused a rift to form, allowing water to flood in from the coast and bring life back to the region. However, the region is now being invaded by demons, including shivarra.
  • Durotar: The Darkspear Trolls will retake the Echo Isles as a new starting area.[28]
  • The Exodar: The boat at Valaar's Berth will have a direct connection to Stormwind Harbor.[29]
  • Feralas: Will be retuned to a 35-40 zone. Feathermoon Stronghold has been razed by Naga. The Isle of Dread has been flooded by tidal waves caused by the Cataclysm.
  • Orgrimmar: The trailer showed evidence of the front gates being reinforced with metal (like Warsong Hold). What metal is used is unknown, but at BlizzCon 2009 Tom Chilton said specifically "if you recognize the black iron... it's from somewhere", hinting that the metal has a specific origin or just reinforcing that we saw this type of architecture used by Garrosh in Northrend. Possibilities include dark iron, saronite or just normal iron. The Valley of Wisdom will become a tauren district, and Garrosh - now acting Warchief of the Horde - will build a new fortress in the Valley of Strength "to show who is in charge". There will also be a district known as the "Goblin Slums" near the Valley of Spirits. There is also a rear gate leading to Azshara. The Valley of Honor will also become the second trade district, with its own bank, auction house and inn.[30][31]
  • Stonetalon Mountains: Eruptions decimate the landscape, spreading the flames of the Charred Vale even further. The goblins have cut through the mountains, forming a valley that leads into Ashenvale. The western coastline is now accessible. Stonetalon Peak has been destroyed by Faceless Ones and Old God tendrils.
  • Tanaris: Will be flooded, with Gadgetzan becoming beachfront property; Steamwheedle Port is destroyed and populated with homeless Goblins.
  • Thousand Needles: Will be flooded, with the eastern coastline accessible and the Shimmering Flats becoming a lake;[32] it will be returned as a level 40-45 zone[33]. Razorfen Downs has been moved to the Thousand Needles map from the Barrens map -- no new dungeons in this zone.

Eastern Kingdoms

Northern Eastern Kingdoms Level Flow

The new level flow for the Eastern Kingdom zones

Level ranges

Eastern Kingdoms
Zone Old New
Alterac Mountains 30-40 TBD
Arathi Highlands 30-40 25-30
Badlands 35-45 TBD
Blasted Lands 45-55 55-60
Burning Steppes 50-60 TBD
Deadwind Pass 55-60 TBD
Dun Morogh 1-10 1-10
Duskwood 20-30 20-25
Eastern Plaguelands 55-60 45-50
Elwynn Forest 1-10 1-10
Gilneas 18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35 1-12
Hillsbrad Foothills 20-30 20-25
The Hinterlands 40-50 30-35
Loch Modan 10-20 10-20
Redridge Mountains 15-25 15-20
Searing Gorge 40-50 TBD
Silverpine Forest 10-20 10-20
Stranglethorn Vale
Northern Stranglethorn
Cape of Stranglethorn
18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35
18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35
Swamp of Sorrows 35-45 TBD
Tirisfal Glades 1-10 1-10
Twilight Highlands 18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35 84-85
Western Plaguelands 50-55 40-45
Westfall 10-20 10-15
Wetlands 20-30 25-30
Zone Old New
Ashenvale 20-30 20-25
Azshara 45-55 10-20
Northern Barrens
Southern Barrens
18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35
18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35
Darkshore 10-20 10-20
Desolace 30-40 30-35
Durotar 1-10 1-10
Dustwallow Marsh 35-45 35-40
Felwood 48-55 45-50
Feralas 40-50 35-40
Mount Hyjal 18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35 80-82
Mulgore 1-10 1-10
Silithus 55-60 55-60
Stonetalon Mountains 15-30 25-30
Tanaris 40-50 45-50
Teldrassil 1-10 1-10
Thousand Needles 25-35 40-45
Uldum 18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35 84-85
Un'goro Crater 48-55 50-55
Winterspring 55-60 50-55
Great Sea
Zone Old New
Kezan 18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35 1-5
Lost Isles 18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35 5-12
Tol Barad 18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35 84-85
Zone Old New
Abyssal Depths 18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35 80-82
Kelp Forest 18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35 80-82
Shimmering Expanse 18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35 80-82
Elemental Plane
Zone Old New
Deepholm 18px-Icon Cataclysm 38x35 82-83

Dungeons and raids


First instances announced for Cataclysm

The developers announced at BlizzCon 2009 that they intend for Cataclysm to ship with the most end-game content yet seen in an expansion.

Planned for later release



  • Battle for Gilneas City will be a new battleground in which you take control of the city by taking control of the most districts in the battleground.

Battlegrounds starting with Cataclysm will be rated, like arenas, and will provide the same rewards as arenas.


New arenas are planned to be added with the expansion, but not directly at the release.

World PvP

Tol Barad will be an outdoor PvP zone much like Wintergrasp. Unlike Wintergrasp however, Tol Barad will also be the main daily quest hub in Cataclysm. By taking control of the Tol Barad Prison, players will gain access to additional, very profitable daily quests.


Volcanoth art

Volcanoth, a monstrous volcano-turtle.


Cataclysm Beta v4.0.0.12635 Launcher

Launcher in the red setup phase

In the upcoming expansion World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the launcher will be updated to "stream" installation and patch data. The new launcher is broken up into three stages of download progress:

  • SETUP (RED): Core game, or 5% of content, is being prepared. You cannot enter the game at this time.
  • AVAILABLE (YELLOW): Base game, or 70% of content, is not completely applied. You can play, but your game experience will not be ideal. You should ideally have 1 MB/sec or better when choosing to play.
  • PLAYABLE (GREEN): Extended, or 25% of content, is almost complete. You may begin playing at this stage with few game issues. You should ideally have 1 MB/sec or better when choosing to play.

The Updater and Downloader have been integrated closely into the Launcher, resulting in less application switching when patching and installing.[40]

Info compilations


World of Warcraft Cataclysm Official trailer
World of Warcraft Cataclysm Trailer HD

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Trailer HD

Before/After World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
World of Warcraft Cataclysm B roll

World of Warcraft Cataclysm B roll

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm zone changes
World of Warcraft Cataclysm Zone Changes—OFFICIAL June 2010

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Zone Changes—OFFICIAL June 2010

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm zone changes
World of Warcraft Cataclysm All Changes - Leaked Alpha (HD)

World of Warcraft Cataclysm All Changes - Leaked Alpha (HD)


Thousands of players have received e-mails inviting them to join an "alpha test". These are scammers who are looking to capitalize on unsuspecting victims.[41]

A few points to remember if you receive an invitation to help test Cataclysm or any Blizzard product:

  • Blizzard does not invite the general player base to alpha tests. It has an army of game developers and testers for that. As with the previous two expansions, beta testing will be announced by Blizzard on the official World of Warcraft website. Beware of clicking official-looking links to that site in e-mails, as scammers often build official-looking copycat sites - instead bookmark the official site or use the link on the game login screen.
  • It cannot be stressed enough to players that Blizzard will never ask you for your credit card, password, user name, e-mail address or any other information it already has. This will not happen ingame, nor in e-mail. If you are asked for this info, you are being scammed.
  • Now that the Cataclysm beta test has begun, scammers have begun sending emails advertising beta access. Beta access will always be made available through your account, and you will be notified through the email address used to create that account. To be sure an email offering beta access is legitimate, do not follow links in the email; instead, go directly to the account management website (where if the email notification was legitimate, you will be able to download the beta client). There is a thread in the official forums by MVP Frejya about what to expect from Blizzard.


  1. 1,0 1,1 Slide Presentation - Fourth Quarter and CY 2009 Results (PDF). Activision Blizzard. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  2. Cataclysm Alpha has begun!. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-07-01.
  3. Blizzard Entertainment Begins Closed Beta Test for World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm™. Activision Blizzard. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  4. YouTube - Cory Stockton Interview - Cataclysm - BlizzCon 2009.
  5. Bouboille 2009-08-22. Class Discussions Panel. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  6. Bouboille 2009-08-22. Blizzcon Day 2 - Game Systems Panel. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  7. Bouboille 2009-08-22. Blizzcon Day 2 - Open Q&A Panel. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  8. Ghostcrawler 2009-11-18. Questions about Feral Tank in Cataclysm. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  11. Ghostcrawler. World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> Pets, Scaling, And 3.3. Archived from the original on 2009-10-08.
  12. Eyonix. World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> Cataclysm Stat & System Changes.
  13. Ghostcrawler 2009-10-29. Icewell Radiance is in!. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  19. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm - Features. Blizz Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved on 2009-08-28. “Explore Azeroth as a gnome priest, blood elf warrior, or one of the other never-before-available race and class combinations.”
  20. 20,0 20,1
  24. Wowhead: Dragonmaw Clan / Wildhammer Clan / The Earthen Ring / Therazane / The Tol'vir
  25. 24. Re: #BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter | 2009-10-22 22:40 by Aratil
  26. Tracey John 2009-08-25. Q&A: How Cataclysm Will Change WoW Forever. Retrieved on 2009-08-28.
  27. Blizzard's Cory Stockton on designing Cataclysm - Gameplanet Feature
  29. Blizzard's Cory Stockton on designing Cataclysm - Gameplanet Feature
  30. Brand New Cataclysm Info! (Some Major Stuff) - The Wowhead Blog
  31. Cataclysm Press Event - Raids, Guild System, Path of the Titans & More - World of Raids Forums
  32. 9. Re: #BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter | 2009-10-22 22:22 by Aratil
  33. cataclysmpreviewpanel_046.jpg (JPG). MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  35. 35,0 35,1 Daniel Whitcomb 2009-09-27. Cataclysm starting zone lore and other new details revealed. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  36. Cataclysm Press Event - Raids, Guild System, Path of the Titans & More - World of Raids Forums
  41. Andrew Powers 2009-07-16. World of Warcraft scam alpha test. Retrieved on 2009-08-20.

External links